Early intervention: a wise investment

Easter Seals Peoria-Bloomington was mentioned in the Journal Star earlier this month. The article, “In the Spotlight: Early Intervention Program at Risk Again,” was written by Sue Yoder, chair, Easter Seals Peoria-Bloomington’s Board of Directors, and discussed the importance of early intervention services and why they should be a priority for state and federal policymakers. In the article she gave terrific reasons why early intervention is a worthwhile investment:

  • One in every 110 children is diagnosed with some form of autism. For boys it’s one in every 70. That’s a new diagnosis every 20 minutes in the U.S.
  • The average age for children to receive an autism diagnoses is 4 1/2 years, but it is possible to diagnose children as early as the age of 2. Earlier detection gives children with developmental needs a critical window of opportunity and access to early intervention and services.
  • Some 25 percent of American children under the age of 5 are at risk for developmental delays or behavioral problems, yet 1.5 million at-risk children go unidentified every year.
  • Last year, 14 percent of young children had a special health need, but only 3 percent received needed services.

Sue ended her piece by encouraging readers to add a candidate’s position on full funding for early intervention to their priority checklist as the next election cycle begins. That’s good advice for all of us as we advocate for critical services for children living with autism and other delays and disabilities.


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